Performing Sunday, July 1
Named to the 2014 Top 20 CD charts by Smooth Jazz.com Hiroshima continues to be a force in the industry and continues to top the charts. With a musical career spanning three decades, gold records and 4 million in sales worldwide, Hiroshima continues to make their unique mix of East meets West – their signature sound.
Hiroshima released their latest new project #20, “Songs With Words” featuring two amazing guest artists Terry Steele and Yvette Nii, the vocalists who performed on the 2010 Grammy-nominated “Legacy.” Hiroshima does a live recording of their vocal hits through the years including “Roomful of Mirrors” “Never, Ever,” “Dada,” and more for the exciting first and probably only all vocal CD. The CD was released on January 28, 2016 and features additional guests artists Latin percussionist extraordinaire Richie Gajeta-Garcia and legendary vocalist Jim Gilstrap on “Song with Words” A special bonus track “Do What You Can” Jam by Kuramoto features special vocal artists Vinx his velvety voice and drums, Vinx has an eclectic style unique to anyone else.
Vibrant, eclectic and truly original, the 2010 Grammy-nominated Hiroshima creates a musical world all its own. Featuring the luscious sound of June Kuramoto’s koto, and the interwoven fabrics of Jazz, Japan, Salsa and more, their CD, “journeys to the heart of their musical soul.”
In 1971, Duke Ellington recorded an album entitled The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse. As part of that work, Ellington proclaimed “that whole world was going [Asian],” and that no one would know “who was in the shadow of whom.”
The celebrated ensemble known as Hiroshima is the fulfillment of Ellington’s prophecy. In the more than three decades since they first convened, the Los Angeles-based ensemble of Dan Kuramoto (keyboards/ woodwinds/ composer/ producer), virtuoso June Kuramoto (koto/ composer), Kimo Cornwell (piano/ keyboards/ composer), Danny Yamamoto (drums/percussion), Dean Cortez (bass) have blended jazz, pop, and rock with traditional Japanese folk music and instruments. The resulting sound was a pioneering voice in the contemporary world music movement of the late 20th century.
Ever evolving, the 2010 Grammy-nominated group, highlighted by the sound of June Kuramoto’s shimmering koto (noted by Stanley Clarke to be the world’s best) creates music and sounds totally unique–with depth, heart and soul.
After more than 30 years in the recording industry — and almost 4 million records sold – Hiroshima decided to leave record companies behind and venture on our own given the changes in the music industry and what it’s now going to take to survive
For Hiroshima – which takes its name from the Japanese city that sustained a nuclear blast during World War II, yet rose phoenix-like from its own ashes – the “ride” began in the polyglot metropolis of Los Angeles. Of all of the members, only June Kuramoto was born in Japan. She arrived in Los Angeles when she was six and lived in an African-American neighborhood.
ABOUT THE BAND
Born in Saitama-ken, Japan and raised in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, June epitomizes America’s evolving art and music culture. Almost by destiny renowned koto master Madame Kazue Kudo, protégé of Japan’s most famous kotoist and composer Michio Miyagi, immigrated to the United States and began teaching koto in June’s family home. Using her grandmother’s koto, June, only six years old, found a ‘connection’ for her life in the instrument and Japanese music.
Subsequently June received classical degrees in koto from the Miyagi School of Koto in Japan through Kudo Sensei (teacher). Along the way she has performed with some of the greatest musicians in the classical world from Japanese masters to Ravi Shankar. But being an American artist she wanted somehow to integrate this music that is her life with the American culture and music that she loves.
June met an eccentric artist-musician named Dan, and they began merging her koto music with the diverse musical environment of Los Angeles. This was the beginning of Hiroshima. June has since been the driving artistic force of Hiroshima creating a multi-cultural musical statement.
Her many recording credits include George Duke, Manhattan Transfer, Taste of Honey, Teddy Pendergrass, Stanley Clarke, Keiko Matsui, Angela Bofill, David Benoit, and Ozomatli. She can also be heard on television and movie scores including “Heroes (NBC),” “East Meets West (Food Channel),” “Simply Ming (PBS),” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Last Samurai,” and “Black Rain.” Commercials include Suntory Light (Japan) and Hawaiian Electric Company (Hawaii).
woodwinds, keyboards, shakuhachi
A college art student from East Los Angeles, supporting himself by working as a sports specialist for L.A. County parks and recreation, Dan picked up the flute as a kind of diversion to his post-hippy lifestyle. With the evolution of ethnic studies on the college campus, and armed with a bachelor’s in fine arts (painting and drawing), he found himself as the first department chairman of Asian-American studies at Cal State University at Long Beach. Searching for a ‘voice,’ as an Asian-American and an artist, he continued to teach for three years, but decided that university life was not immediate enough for him. He also found that playing music for various community fund-raisers provided a kind of expression that became a passion.
Fueled by the work of the jazz artists he loved, and the incredible creative energy of contemporaries like Earth, Wind and Fire, Santana, and Jimi Hendrix, Dan saw music as the vehicle to give voice to his Japanese-American heritage, and to claim what he feels is America’s greatest resource — its diversity. He then met June and her virtuosity as a classical Japanese musician, and her desire to create a ‘new music’ inspired their collaboration that became the birth of Hiroshima. Principal composer, producer and leader of the band, his voluminous credits include musical arranger for the Los Angeles and New York productions of “Zoot Suit,” Emmy winning composer for “Bean Sprouts,” composer, Showtime min-series, “Home Fires,” and over 30 plays and movies. His shakuhachi credits include, “Black Rain,” “Pearl Harbor,” “The Thin Red Line,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Kimo (Hawaiian for James), was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. This amiable keyboard genius of Hawaiian, Chinese and English ancestry grew up in Kalihi and graduated from Farrington High School. Blessed with the love of music and a palate for ‘plate lunch,’ Kimo soon became renown as one of the best keyboard players from the islands.
After playing and recording with most of the top groups in Hawaii, Kimo moved to Los Angeles to try his hand in the ‘mainland’ music scene. Immediately discovered by touring groups, Kimo hit the road first with Cheryl Lynn (“To Be Real”), and then with a succession of artists including Ronnie Laws, John Klemmer, Al Jarreau, Frankie Beverly and Maze – and Hiroshima. During the mid-eighties, sought after by Hiroshima, Jarreau, and Maze, he chose to become a fulltime mainstay with the band. Working in the capacity of keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer he has become part of the heart and soul of the band and its music.
He continues to work with other artists, writing and producing, and has worked on several record film and television projects with Dan as co-composer and arranger.
drums, percussion, taiko
A graduate of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, Danny has had a lifelong love affair with music. Beginning with the accordion, reflective of his eclectic tastes in art and music, he has played virtually all the instruments in a band, but as a tool for self-expression, the drums became his voice. At Dorsey, he found himself in a jazz trio along with bassist (now musician-producer) Larry Klein and pianist (now Downbeat award-winning jazz keyboardist) Billy Childs.
After such a luminous start, he settled in as a music major at UCLA, expanding into ethnomusicology. Playing and recording with a variety of groups, he also became involved with Hiroshima, ultimately becoming a principal member. He has continued to both study and perform in a myriad of musical settings, from TV and film sessions to taiko gigs. After a significant tenure studying drumming techniques with the renowned Freddy Gruber, he has himself become a teacher.
Originally from Miami Beach, Florida, Dean comes from a musical family (his dad was a touring percussionist), and started out playing string bass in youth symphonies. His family moved to Southern California, where he added the electric bass. By the time he graduated high school, Dean was the regular bassist with the famed Latin percussionist/ singer Wille Bobo. A founding member of the seminal Latin-fusion band ‘Caldera,’ Dean recorded two albums with them before becoming the bassist on the Boz Skaggs World Tour.
He has since played on over 300 recording sessions, ranging from film, television, and records—including Hiroshima’s first release in 1979. Having played on virtually every Hiroshima album as a session bassist, Dean became a regular in the band during the “East (1988)” tour.
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